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ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (1) 

When I joined Mastodon three years ago, a bunch of wannabe programmers had just discovered the API and started writing follow bots. Very soon, everyone decided follow bots were spammy and annoying and started blocking them. A few enthusiasts proposed the tag as a “solution” and a fair number of people added it to their profile, but no one liked it and follow bots rapidly became an accepted reason to block instances.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

What’s odd, then, is that of all the early Mastodon traditions it’s the tag that persists, as a kind of charm to ward off bad luck.

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ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird I use the nobot tag! It was one of the first things I was told to do when I joined. I have no idea whether it does anything since I do still get followed by bots, but I have no way to note the followbots that ... don't. If there even are any.

I love how you've framed this because it's absolutely true that it's use is superstitious at this point! I often think about removing it and then I'm like 'well ... what is it hurting?' XD

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird Thanks for reminding me that I forgot to set #nobot in my bio.

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@stolas Better put a “boosts are not endorsements” and a “do not read if you are not the person addressed” in there too. You can’t be too careful ;-)

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird I might as well stick in a Please request a form before boosting/faving my posts at that rate. :P

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@stolas The one that always used to annoy me in my last job was the “if you are not an authorised user please log out” message on all the unix servers.

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird @stolas Huh, how is "do not read if you are not the person addressed" used? It sounds a bit counterintuitive if you have public posts....

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@mel @stolas It’s an email disclaimer thing. Not actually applicable here, but it’s not like it has any legal force on emails either.

re: ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird @stolas Aaaah, that makes sense :>

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird I was here 3 years ago and I don’t remember this lol. Then again, I’ve almost always silo’d myself to my home feed.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@carami I could have dreamed it, I guess. Memory is pretty fallible.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird Going to make a little necklace with #nobot on it, so I can wear it for good luck

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird In all seriousness though, I've seen this tag on so many profiles and I was never sure exactly why it was there.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@InvaderXan I’m quite tempted to do this, now. I bet there are custom laser-cut outfits who’d do one.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird I was thinking like one of those cutesy little name necklaces where they'll cut basically any text for you.

I vaguely remember seeing @iconography get one which says "FuckTheTories"

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird maybe it's become a way to show that you know your ready around mastodon, that you're not just a casual visitor? That kind of recognition signal, an unexplained custom, is something online communities often use.

alt.folklore.urban was absolutely infested with them - cow orker, a merkin, grilf, ... - I think partly because of the nature of Usenet.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@anne I remember those from Usenet - I always thought of cow orker as an alt.sysadmin.recovery thing so it’s interesting to see it went wider than that - but I see on new accounts too. I think people pick it up because it’s visible and easy to do.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird I always assumed it was a superset of the "please-don't-archive" tags, but this is much more interesting. Thanks!

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@ghost_bird The irony is I follow a few bots and don't really care if they follow me. #nobot is more performative for people. And ironic, given my computerized persona.

But jorts and 🍍 are still around, too.

ancient Mastodon superstitions, history (2) 

@mdhughes @ghost_bird what does 🍍 mean?

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